Sun. May 26th, 2024
alert-–-slovakian-pm-fights-for-life-after-’71-year-old-assassin’-shoots-him-in-the-stomach-and-arm-before-being-bundled-to-the-ground-while-trying-to-fleeAlert – Slovakian PM fights for life after ’71-year-old assassin’ shoots him in the stomach and arm before being bundled to the ground while trying to flee

The Prime Minister of Slovakia Robert Fico is fighting for his life after being shot in the stomach and arm by a ’71-year-old assassin’ who was bundled to the ground by cops as he attempted to flee.

Fico, 59, was shot in Handlova, north-east of Bratislava, following a Slovak government meeting while he greeted adoring crowds.

The gunfire took place in front of the House of Culture, before a man, who according to Pluska news site is 71-years-old and named Juraj C, was quickly pounced upon and detained by security officials.

A witness told Slovakian news site Dennik, that Fico had left the building to greet people who had gathered to catch a glimpse of him before ‘several shots were fired’. 

Harrowing footage of the near-fatal scenes shows the prime minister stumbling to the ground as his security team dashed to pick up his slumped body before bundling him into a nearby car.

Robert Fico (pictured centre) being carried away by security officials into a car after he was shot in Handlova, north-east of Bratislava, following a Slovak government meeting

Robert Fico (pictured centre) being carried away by security officials into a car after he was shot in Handlova, north-east of Bratislava, following a Slovak government meeting

Fico was shot following a government meeting on Wednesday outside the House of Culture in Handlova and was pictured being moved into a car by security officials

The Prime Minister of Slovakia Robert Fico has been ‘shot and wounded’

The alleged assailant was detained by cops at the scene

The alleged assailant was detained by cops at the scene

The attacker was pushed to the ground and handcuffed

The attacker was pushed to the ground and handcuffed

The gunman is allegedly 71-year-old Juraj C

The gunman is allegedly 71-year-old Juraj C

Robert Fico is in 'life threatening condition' according to a message posted to his Facebook following the attack

Robert Fico is in ‘life threatening condition’ according to a message posted to his Facebook following the attack

According to The Herald, an eye witness who had been waiting to greet the PM said: ‘I was just going to shake his hand, when the shots rang out it almost deafened me’.

It was also reported that someone from within the crowd yelled ‘Robo, come here’ before the shooting began. 

The alleged assailant was nabbed by cops on site, who then cordoned off the area and the House of Culture was evacuated. 

The injured prime minister was airlifted by helicopter to a nearby hospital after suffering shots to the chest and abdomen, reports Pluska. 

Who is Robert Fico?

Robert Fico, 59, is the current Prime Minister of Slovakia, having served since September 2023.

He previously served from 2006 to 2010 and from 2012 to 2018.   

Fico was forced to step down as prime minister following the murder of investigative journalist Jan Kuciak in 2018. 

He founded the Direction – Social Democracy (Smer) party in 1999 and has led the party since its foundation.

He holds a record as the longest-serving prime minister in the country’s history, having served for a total of over 10 years.  

In a message posted later on Fico’s Facebook page, his staff said he was shot a number of times and was ‘currently in a life-threatening condition’. 

They said he was being transported to Banksa Bystrica as he needed urgent surgery. 

The next few hours would be critical, the post said. 

According to a local report from Digi24, a Romanian news TV channel, Fico was hit by at least two bullets, before the Slovak Ministry of the Interior confirmed it was an assassination attempt.

A 66-year-old resident who had been lining up to see the PM spoke to a local news outlet about the tragic and terrifying incident.

‘We went to shake hand to mister Fico, I was taking pictures of him when he walked out of the building, we were waiting for long time, we were excited, we wanted to shake his hand, even one man next to me, and at this moment we heard something like a petard, we thought someone made a joke and threw a firecracker on the ground, that was my first reaction,’ she said.

‘I heard three shots, it was quick one by one like if you throw a firecracker on the ground,’ she added.

When asked by a journalist if she had seen his injuries, she responded: ”Yes I saw a scratch on a head and then he fell next to the barrier. I think it is a nightmare, I’ll tell you I think I will not wake up from this. That this is not possible to happen in Slovakia.’

Following the shock attack, Peter Pellegrini, Slovakia’s president-elect and an ally of Robert Fico, has said that ‘an assassination attempt on the Prime Minister is a threat to everything that has adorned Slovak democracy so far.’

‘I am horrified by where the hatred towards another political opinion can lead. 

‘We don’t have to agree on everything, but there are plenty of ways to express our disagreement democratically and legally,’ he added.

The head of the liberal political party Progressive Slovakia, Michala Šimeček, said:’ We unequivocally and strongly condemn any violence. We trust that Prime Minister Fico will be fine and that this terrible act will be brought to light as soon as possible.’ 

Fico has been serving as the PM of Slovakia since September 2023, having returned to power after serving previously from 2006 to 2010 and from 2012 to 2018.

During his run in 2016, the leader commented on Brexit saying it was unclear what the United Kingdom wanted, adding that it ‘must suffer’ more than the 27 countries who will remain in the bloc.

The PM was shot in Handlova, north-east of Bratislava

The PM was shot in Handlova, north-east of Bratislava

Rescue workers take Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico, who was shot and injured, to a hospital in the town of Banska Bystrica, central Slovakia

Rescue workers take Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico, who was shot and injured, to a hospital in the town of Banska Bystrica, central Slovakia

Robert Fico pictured speaking with people before the cabinet's away-from-home session in the town of Handlova, Slovakia

Robert Fico pictured speaking with people before the cabinet’s away-from-home session in the town of Handlova, Slovakia

It is not currently known what the shooter's motives were behind the attack

It is not currently known what the shooter’s motives were behind the attack

Czech PM, Petr Fiala said: 'We must not tolerate violence, it must have no place in society'

Czech PM, Petr Fiala said: ‘We must not tolerate violence, it must have no place in society’

Following Wednesday’s shooting, Slovakian President Zuzana Caputova condemned ‘a brutal and ruthless’ attack on the premier.

‘I’m shocked,’ Ms Caputova said. 

‘I wish Robert Fico a lot of strength in this critical moment and a quick recovery from this attack.’

Deputy speaker of parliament Lubos Blaha confirmed the incident during a session of Parliament and adjourned it until further notice, the Slovak TASR news agency said.

Czech PM, Petr Fiala, has responded to the attack on X, formerly Twitter, posting: ‘The news about the shooting Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico is shocking.

‘I wish the prime minister to get well as soon as possible. We must not tolerate violence, it must have no place in society.’

UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has also shared a message to X, relaying his shock following the gun attack

‘Shocked to hear this awful news. All our thoughts are with Prime Minister Fico and his family,’ he wrote.

Ukraine’s PM said: ‘The attack on Slovakia’s Prime Minister Robert Fico is appalling.

‘We strongly condemn this act of violence against our neighboring partner state’s head of government. Every effort should be made to ensure that violence does not become the norm in any country, form, or sphere. 

‘We sincerely hope Robert Fico recovers soon and express our solidarity with the people of Slovakia’.

There is allegedly no information about the shooter’s motives at this time. 

Fico’s renewed leadership as prime minister got off to a rocky start after he halted military aid to Ukraine in January, and just last month he pushed through plans to crap public broadcaster RTVS. 

Parliament was sitting at the time of the attack and local Slovak media reported that a party colleague of Fico’s shouted at opposition MPs, accusing them of inciting the attack. 

This is a breaking new story. More to follow 

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